Non-UK Casino Sites – Overregulation means ‘Black Casino’
When it comes to gambling, the UK is known for being extremely well regulated, so why do we hear so much about non UK casinos and so called ‘black casinos’?
The introduction of the United Kingdom Gambling Commission (UKGC) during the 2000s helped to create one of the most highly regulated national gambling landscapes, and one in which the UK’s well-established and engaged gambling community could have confidence.
The degree of regulation imposed by the UKGC has both positive and negative consequences, however. On one hand, UK customers are extremely well protected in terms of player fund protection, data security and fair play, as well as in the often troubling area of responsible gaming.
It’s chiefly this last issue that has led to the rise of so-called ‘black casinos’ – casino sites which are not licensed by the UKGC, yet remain available to UK customers.
Non UK Licensed Casinos – Why do they exist?
Non UK casino sites – also known as black casinos or non Gamstop casinos – may seem at first glance to be shady, dubious, or even illegal. However, much of that first impression may be due to the fact that these sites are not permitted to market themselves to UK customers, so it’s natural that you would be unfamiliar with the brands.
While they cannot advertise in the same way as the big UK brands like Ladbrokes or William Hill, it’s perfectly legal for UK punters to play at these sites. While they are not licensed in the UK, most boast official licences from other bodies based around the world, often in places such as Panama or Curacao.
A key driver in their popularity within the UK rests with the fact these non UK casino sites do not adhere to the Gamstop scheme. This is a self-exclusion scheme which effectively bars UK customers from ALL UKGC-licensed operators, once they self-exclude from any single one of them. UK players with a Gamstop ban are still able to play at these black casino sites.
UK Licensed Online Casino Regulation
As one of the foremost regulators in the industry, particularly when it comes to high standards of safety and responsibility, UK players have understandable faith in the UKGC and its licensees.
In addition to participation in the Gamstop scheme – and a commitment to exclude potential customers who have signed on to the scheme – the UKGC’s licensees must pay a portion of gaming revenue, build in extensive responsible gaming tools to their platforms, and abide by a number of other regulations intended to aid vulnerable players.
These include limits on the amounts customers can deposit, or wager, or receive as bonuses. Other regulations include elements such as an enforced delay on slots spins, to protect against impulsive or reckless gambling.
It’s this kind of arguably over-stringent regulation that is sending more and more UK players to the internet’s search engines to track down these enigmatic non UK casinos. It’s true that some players will head to the ‘black casino’ sites because it may be the only way they can play while they serve their Gamstop self-exclusion, but many others are simply looking for a more free-wheeling, less overregulated approach to casino gaming.
Non UK Casinos Accepting UK Players – An Opportunity
UK customers who do take the plunge and opt for a non UK casino site are often forced to make a decision without full command of the facts, given that these sites cannot advertise or market their services within the UK.
Yet many who do find a new favourite site which they trust and enjoy, are able to discover new opportunities, new games and new activities that they may not have found at more traditional UK sites. Non UK sites are by definition internationally-facing platforms, so they need to cater to a wider audience. The result is often a greater range of games, or even entirely new games you may not have come across before.
What’s more, non UK casino sites are not bound by many of the restrictions imposed on their UK counterparts which, while sensible from a responsible gaming approach, can have the effect of tangibly reducing the fun factor.
For example, if you are a capable and controlled slots player, it can be frustrating having to wait a certain time between spins. Likewise, high volume players may be able to find much larger deposit bonuses available at non UK casinos.
As always, we recommend you read the small print before depositing at any online casino.
Overregulation Leads to Non UK Licensed Gambling
So while the work of the UKGC is widely appreciated, there are many who feel its hard-line approach to responsible gambling has effectively created the need for non UK casino sites. A report from PWC indicates that overregulation on the UK side has in fact driven the number of non UK casino users in Britain up to around the 200,000-a-year mark.
If these restrictions and limits did not exist, and UK operators were less bound by the strict terms of their licences, would players ever need to venture away from the UK sites (thereby generating taxes for foreign regulators rather than within the UK)?
Overprotection or Laissez-Faire
Of course, the UKGC’s high standards are in place for reasons of protection: of player funds, customer data, fair play and of course vulnerable people.
Many would argue that the UKGC’s licence requirements need to be strict, and could be even stricter, in an effort to prevent more vulnerable people from falling victim to gambling addiction.
Yet if those same restrictions have paved the way for UK customers to seek out and use non UK casino sites, which generally offer less protection in most relevant areas, is it the correct approach?
The Future: Can UKGC tackle non UK Casinos?
It’s clear that the intentions of the UKGC, as well as Gamstop, are honourable and come from a desire to make the UK a safe and enjoyable place to exercise our rights to gamble legally and securely.
But something is amiss if the policies themselves are actually creating less security for those who may need it the most. Customers who have self-excluded using Gamstop are likely to be those at the darker and more troubling end of the addiction spectrum; providing a place for them to play runs against everything the UKGC is trying to achieve, yet is arguably beyond the ability of the UKGC to control.
Will legal steps be taken to remove non UK casino sites from the UK landscape, or will the UKGC adapt to try and cater for those players intentionally moving away from UK brands? Only time will tell.